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Schools needs funds, not shake-up: Labour

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/08/2016
The survey was carried out after approvals surged 81 per cent following relaxation of English language requirements in 2013, Mr Hipkins says. © Getty Images The survey was carried out after approvals surged 81 per cent following relaxation of English language requirements in 2013, Mr Hipkins says.

The government needs to give schools more money, not reform funding systems for reform's sake, Labour says.

Consultation for a list of seven government proposals to change the structure of education funding is due to end next week.

Among the major changes are a proposed move to "global funding" - which would allow principals to decide how to split funds been operations and staff salaries - and an overhaul of the school decile system.

But Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins says the changes just move the same amount of money around and what is really needed is more funding.

"I don't think we need reform for reform's sake," he told TVNZ's Q&A.

"Every school in the country will say they could use more money. So if it's about re-carving the existing pie, that's where the problem starts to emerge."

He said the funding of schools had slipped back in per-student terms during the last eight years and catching funding up needed to be a priority.

Hekia Parata © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata denied there had been underspending.

"We are putting over $11 billion of taxpayer money into education. It's more than foreign affairs, defence, transport and conservation," she told Q&A.

"But we need to be able to say that we're spending it as well as we could be in order to make the arguments for further future funding."

She said schools were the ones "on the spot" and were best to determine how to spend their money.

Teachers unions on Monday came out in strong opposition to global funding, saying it was a back door attempt to bring in "the failed experiment" of bulk funding.

The Ministry of Education denies it has anything to do with bulk funding and the ministry would continue to pay staff salaries.

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